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HAZEL JOY D.

TORRES
LlB - I

G.R. No. 170626 March 3, 2008

THE SANGGUNIANG BARANGAY OF BARANGAY DON MARIANO MARCOS,


MUNICIPALITY OF BAYOMBONG PROVINCE OF NUEVA VISCAYA represented by
BARANGAY KAGAWAD JOSE CENEN SANTOS, MARIO BACUD, WALTER FRANCISCO,
ROSITA SEBASTIAN, LAURETA CABAUATAN, CECILIA ALINDAYU and MELY SIMANGAN,
petitioners,

vs.

PUNONG BARANGAY SEVERINO MARTINEZ,


respondent.

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STATEMENT OF FACTS

Sangguniang Barangay, petitioner, is the legislative body of Barangay Don Mariano


Marcos, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. Severino Martinez, respondent is the incumbent Punong
Barangay of the said local government unit.

On December 6, 2004, the petitioner filed with the Sangguniang Bayan an amended
administrative complaint (November 5, 2019) against the respondent for Dishonesty,
Misconduct in Office and Violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The petitioner filed with the Sangguniang Bayan an amended administrative complaint
on December 6, 2004, against the respondent for Dishonesty, Misconduct in Office and Violation
of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Petitioner alleged that respondent committed the
following acts:

1. Failure to submit and fully remit to the Barangay Treasurer the income of their solid
waste management project since 2001 particularly the sale of fertilizer derived from
composting.

2. Failure to submit/remit to the barangay treasurer the sale of recyclable materials taken
from garbage collection.

3. Using the garbage truck for other purposes like hauling sand and gravel for private
persons without monetary benefit to the barangay because no income from this source
appears in the year-end report even if payments were collected x x x.

4. Using/spending barangay funds for repair, gasoline, lubricants, wheels and other
spare parts of the garbage truck instead of using the money or income of said truck from
the garbage fees collected as income from its Sold Waste Management Project. x x x.

5. Unliquidated traveling expenses for Seminar/Lakbay-Aral in 2003 because although a


cash advance was made by the respondent for the said purpose, he, however, did not
attend said seminar because on the dates when he was supposed to be on seminar they
saw him in the barangay. x x x.

6. That several attempts to discuss said problem during sessions were all in vain
because respondent declined to discuss it and would adjourn the session.x x x.

Respondent failed to submit an Answer to the amended administrative complaint, hence,


he was declared as in default. Pending the administrative proceedings, respondent was placed
under preventive suspension for 60 days or until August 8, 2005.

On Juy 28, 2005, the Sangguniang Bayan rendered its Decision which imposed upon
Severino Martinez the penalty of removal from office.

On August 3, 2005, Municipal Mayor Severino Bagasao, LGU – Bayombong, Nueva


Ecija, issued a Memorandum stating that the Sangguniang Bayan is not empowered to order
the removal of Martinez from the service. However, the Decision remains valid until reversed
and must be executed by him. For the meantime, he ordered indefinite suspension of Martinez
since the period of appeal has not yet lapsed.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

On August 26, 2005 respondent Severino Martinez filed before the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 27, of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, a Special Civil Action for Certiorari with a prayer of
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, against petitioner, the Sangguniang
Bayan and Mayor Severino Bagasao, docketed as Special Civil Action No. 6727, questioning
the validity of the Decision promulgated on July 28, 2005 by the Sangguniang Bayan. The RTC
issued an Order dated October 20, 2005 declaring the Decision of the Sangguniang Bayan and
Memorandum of Mayor Bagasao void. On November 10, 2005, petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration which was denied in another Order dated November 30, 2005. Hence, the
present petition was filed.

ISSUES

Whether or not the Sangguniang Bayan has jurisdiction over a case involving the
removal of a local elective official from office.

RULING

The Supreme Court ruled that, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision
of the Bayombong RTC in Special Civil Action No. 6727 is AFFIRMED.

DOCTRINES/ PRINCIPLES

Sangguniang Bayan (SB) or Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) cannot order the removal of an
erring elective barangay official from office, as the courts (RTC) are exclusively vested with this
under Section 60 of the Local Government Code:

“Section 60. Ground for Disciplinary Actions. An elective local official may be disciplined,
suspended or removed from office on any of the following grounds:
x x x x.

An elective official may be removed from office on the grounds enumerated above by
order of the proper court.”,

This means that the power to remove elective officials from office is conferred upon the
courts, that only after a trial before the appropriate court, where court rules of procedure and
evidence can ensure impartiality and fairness and protect against political maneuverings.

Thus, if the acts allegedly committed by the barangay official are of a grave nature and,
if found guilty, would merit the penalty of removal from office, the case should be filed with the
regional trial court. The most extreme penalty that the Sanggunian may impose is suspension.

Sec 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that:

“Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not
there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.”,

This establishes the authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the
validity of acts of the political departments and speaks of judicial prerogative in terms of duty.

Doctrine of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:

As a general rule, no recourse to courts can be had until administrative remedies have
been exhausted. However, this rule is not applicable where the challenged administrative act is
patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction and where the question or questions raised is
purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice.